Posted: 10 Oct 2011 06:16 AM PDT
By Reid Spencer
Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service
KANSAS CITY, Kan.—Danica Patrick says she’s ready for change.
Yes, there will be some emotional moments when she makes her final start as a full-time IndyCar Series driver next weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but Patrick says she’s ready for the demands of a full Nationwide Series schedule—not to mention a handful of Sprint Cup appearances.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” Patrick said Friday at Kansas Speedway, where she was competing in the Kansas Lottery 300. “I’m excited. I’m ready for change. There will be definitely things and people that I miss about IndyCar. I’m sure that, especially on frustrating weekends, I’ll think that, up here in IndyCar, maybe it’s this much easier.
“But I’m excited about the change, and I’m not afraid of change.”
Patrick won’t decide on her Sprint Cup schedule until after the release of the Nationwide schedule, expected next week.
“If there’s no schedule out, I can’t make a decision,” Patrick said. “I’m obviously going to try to work on companion weekends—or maybe a stand-alone weekend will be easier for me to not confuse things. But I don’t know which ones they’re going to be yet.”
Nevertheless, it’s a good bet that Patrick will make her Cup debut in the Daytona 500 at a track where she led 13 laps and finished 10th in her last Nationwide outing. Patrick will drive for Stewart-Haas Racing in the Cup Series and for JR Motorsports in Nationwide.
A start at newly repaved Phoenix International Raceway, Patrick’s hometown track, isn’t out of the question either. JR Motorsports driver Aric Almirola tested a Hendrick Motorsports Cup car at Phoenix on Tuesday and Wednesday, as Hendrick brought an electronic fuel injection car to the test of the reconfigured track, in addition to the Chevrolets driven by Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Mark Martin.
The Cup series is expected to debut fuel-injected engines in the Daytona 500, according to NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton.